Tag: CharlesBukowski

Documentary filmmakers

These 5 Documentaries About Authors Ought To Be At The Top of Your List

I love documentaries, but every documentary I’ve watched lately has to do with nature, or food, or travel, or musicians. Seriously – George Harrison Living in the Material World, Chef’s Table, Mind of a Chef, Planet Earth, Blue Planet, etc. etc. blah blah blah. Where are all the documentaries about authors? 


I put together a list of five documentaries about famous authors that are definitely worth seeing, but in spite of the struggle to put this list together, I’m still jonesing for more.


1. Margaret Atwood: Once in August


Margaret Atwood

Image via Academy of American Poets


1984, a year before the release of The Handmaid’s Tale, filmmaker Michael Rubbo drops us into Margaret Atwood’s family vacation spot in the middle of the woods. Between frequent narration about his subject and between-interview discussions on how to best bring her out in front of the camera, Rubbo’s film often feels like a wildlife documentary. Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale or The Blind Assassin should definitely check this one out. It’s a great way to get a glimpse of the author before she really hit it big.


2. The Charles Bukowski Tapes


Charles Bukowski

Image via Discogs


This 1987 documentary is a compilation of over fifty interviews with Bukowski and is an exhausting but exhilarating four hours long. Filmmaker Barbet Schroeder sets up a shot and lets the author talk about anything and everything, and it doesn’t take long for things to get uncomfortable, which shouldn’t surprise you if you know anything about Charles Bukowski, especially since his column Notes of a Dirty Old Man is what brought him to both fame and infamy – just ask the FBI. Schroeder doesn’t try and mask anything, he wants the audience to see it. 


3. Breakfast with Hunter 


Hunter S. Thompson

Image via The Hollywood Reporter


Quintessential Hunter S. Thompson – the 2003 documentary opens with the gonzo journalist pulling up to the curb with a cigarette and a blow-up doll, both of which he then throws into the street. If you’re looking for a film about the author’s childhood or personal life, this one isn’t for you. Instead, he discusses Nixon, film adaptations of his work, and DUI laws while you get a peek at his bizarre day-to-day, including ambushing Rolling Stone co-founder and publisher Jann Wenner with a stolen fire extinguisher. It’s a trip, much like Hunter S. Thompson, and it’s a trip you’ll want to take.


4. William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (2010)


William S. Burroughs

Image via NPR


Luckily, this isn’t just another documentary about the Beatnik movement, which it easily could have been. Instead, it tries to understand the angry man behind Naked Lunch, including the drugs and the guns, though it’s most interested in exploring Burroughs’ capacity to love, and somehow, it actually gets an answer at the end. 


5. Salinger


JD Salinger

Image via Wikipedia


Apparently Salinger was huge when it was first released in 2013, but I’d never heard about it, probably because it didn’t live up to its pre-release hype. It was supposed to reveal sensational new information on the reclusive author’s life, along with a few unpublished novels, but four years later there were a few leaks, but no actual new publications. But hey, if you’ve ever wondered what Danny DeVito thinks of the author, check out this documentary.


Featured image via Live For Film.


10 Essential Poems You Can Read Online

The Internet is a great resource for readers because it offers so much reading material for free. Just click on each title on this list to view the poem!

There are far more than ten great poems hanging around the Internet, of course, so we’ve tried to limit ourselves to the most essential and classic examples. Share your own favorites in the comments!

“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson

“Because I Could Not Stop For Death” is grim, elegant, and rhythmic. It’s a perfect example of Dickinson’s style. The fact that this poem was published only after Dickinson died is, unfortunately, also typical of Dickinson. She published just eight of her poems during her lifetime, and only became famous after she passed away.


“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath is one of the most iconic and tragic figures in the history of literature. Her poetry has a sort of desperate quality that gives it the same power as her famous novel The Bell Jar. In “Daddy,” the speaker inspects her relationship with her father, and everything that it connects to.


“Dinosauria, We” by Charles Bukowski

Bukowski’s wild free-form poems are alternately depressing and exciting. “Dinosauria, We” captures Bukowski’s grim outlook on life. In Bukowski’s apocalyptic view, we are “Born like this / Into this.”


“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas’ most famous poem is a masterpiece. The poem has inspired everything from songs and stories to works of art. It’s also perhaps the most famous example of a villanelle, a poetic form that requires 19 repeating lines.


“Harlem” by Langston Hughes

Hughes, a key figure in the Harlem renaissance, writes here about the neighborhood where it all happened. “What happens to a dream deferred?” Hughes asks. His poem’s suggested answers consider misery and, ultimately, spectacular hope.


“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Shelley’s most famous sonnet reflects on the fleeting nature of power. The poet describes a ruined monument to Ozymandius (the Greek name for Pharaoh Ramesses II). “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” the inscription reads, though there is nothing left to see.


“Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman

Whitman’s famous works often touch on the America of his time, including the brutal realities of life during the Civil War. “Song of Myself” is no exception, but it also includes deeply personal thoughts. “Song of Myself” was published in Whitman’s famous Leaves of Grass.


Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) by William Shakespeare

Just about any of Shakespeare’s sonnets could hold their own on this list – after all, he did Shakespearian sonnets so well that he lent his name to the form. We’ve chosen one of his most famous. You can find all of Shakespeare’s sonnets online, so if you disagree with our selection, just link to your suggestion in the comments section!


“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

Angelou’s inspirational “Still I Rise” is a testament to overcoming history and discrimination. “Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise,” Angelou writes, capturing both the degradation of slavery and the unconquered spirit of blacks in America. With race relations front and center in American culture once again, there’s no better time to read this poem.


“Who Goes With Fergus?” by William Butler Yeats

Ireland’s most famous poet is worthy of the year-long celebration that his nation is giving him this year. Here, he draws a figure from Irish mythology and gives him the poetic treatment. Yeats’ elevates the Irish source material by using it as inspiration, just as other poets used stories from Greek and Roman source in their own work.

Main image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1Ez2Amw